The Fight Against Perfectionism: Overcoming Shame to Succeed

I spent this weekend wrapping up the last nine months of my life. Last September I began a journey that was exciting, nourishing, and challenging all at the same time. I became a Nutritional Therapy student because I wanted to expand upon my love of nutrition. What I didn’t expect was that I would get the job of my dreams in food policy just two weeks after starting school or that I would have intense life stuff to deal with throughout this entire process. But that’s how life works. This journey is at times a roller coaster, at other times it’s a white beach with soft waves and sunshine. Most of the time it’s in between the two.

I preach balance here not because I’m so good at it. In fact it’s one of the things I struggle most with in life. That’s why I started this blog. So that I could have a constant reminder that I need to practice it. What I’m really, really good at is finding distractions so that I don’t have to face reality and sometimes success. I think finding Paleo and changing my physical and mental health through it was the biggest wake up call I’ve ever had. Before I was confused and basically didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up despite a successful career in radio and voiceover that I couldn’t really stand. I struggled with mood swings and didn’t handle stress very well. As lovely as it would have been to go off on an “EAT, PRAY, LOVE” kind of soul searching experience, my husband and children really wouldn’t have appreciated that. So I created it in my own way. I go to therapy…a lot! I’m not ashamed to say that. I don’t go because I’m broken although at times I have been. I go because it’s self-care and I treasure the life skills I’ve learned there.

We all come into this world with baggage and how we deal with that as grown-ups is our responsibility. There are a million ways to do that: therapy, meditation, yoga, the list goes on. In order to be the best mom I can be, I feel like it’s necessary to break cycles and deal with my sh*t. But, please pay attention to this part: I’m not perfect and neither are you and we’re not supposed to be. I’ve paid a lot of money to learn that perfection breeds shame. However perfectionism is my bag baby. It lets me take on more than I can handle. It allows me to put unhealthy expectations of myself and then it lets me self-sabotage. It’s the cradle that rocks me late at night when I’m wide awake in bed beating myself up. Always attempting to keep me from success in life. I want to be loved, respected, tolerated, acknowledged, validated, and I want to be heard. Don’t we all? What I’ve learned is that those things happen when I let go and am just myself instead of trying to make it happen.

Perfectionism is a daily struggle for me. The more my life falls in place and all the things I ever wanted come to me, the harder it is to accept. This blog…this space has enriched my life so much the last two years. It’s made it possible for my dreams of helping others to come true. I’ve met amazing people along that way that inspire and teach me. I’m a big believer in creating your own destiny but it’s hard to do that when old stuff is weighing you down. As I’ve made room in that head of mine, the things that filled my heart started to take over and kick out the thoughts that tell me I’m not good enough, smart enough, organized enough, or talented enough to accomplish my goals. They are always there lurking in the shadows but I’m a little bit better at acknowledging them and moving on.

As I type this I’m fighting back tears reflecting on how challenging the last nine months of my life have been. Knowing that I handled it with grace, quite possibly for the first time ever in my life is so empowering. I refused to give up and this weekend, graduating as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner makes every single second of pain and hard work worth it. My family sacrificed a clean house, me missing important events like first chorus concerts, last day of school celebrations, family outings, and more. No matter what, they supported me and believed in me. When I started to lose faith, they told me to hang in there and showed how proud they were of me. My husband became mister mom and happily picked up the slack. When there were tears (by me of course) he listened to my fears and worries and assured me that I had this. When some pretty heavy life stuff like my favorite grandfather passing away the week before midterms happened and it looked like I might have to postpone the course, he stood by me and assured me that I would make the right choice. I did. Those 5 people are my inspiration for which I do all that I do.

I especially want to thank you all for being there for me through this. Reading my posts and following me on Twitter and Facebook. For listening to the podcast and for all of your encouragement and support. I am grateful for all of you and I will try to never lose sight of why we’re in this together, but I’ll never be perfect so I may fail along the way. Just know that I’ll do my best to get back up again. xoxo-Kendall


7 thoughts on “The Fight Against Perfectionism: Overcoming Shame to Succeed

  1. Congratulations! You are an inspiration – Keep up the great work here, on your wonderful new podcast, and in the field of nutrition education and school gardening for the next generation. Much love and blessings!

  2. Congrats Kendall! I just graduated the program a couple of weeks ago, after struggling to balance my job, writing a book unexpectedly (who does that?) and blogging. I almost quit multiple times. I don’t know how I would have gotten through if I had to be responsible for a family – you are amazing!

  3. Thank you Mickey!! I just found your blog and your FB page, yay! Congrats on graduating. It really is quite the little intensive course. I can’t believe that you wrote a book during it all. Huge kudos to you. Look forward to chatting sometime!

  4. Congrats! What venue were you in? I graduated from the Bend class! What a year!!! I loved every minute but a lot had to be put on the back burner for sure!

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